[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 4, Issue 26

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 28 12:49:16 CDT 2003

>This is quite interesting.  You mean the Tantra is what is meant as Avidhi 
>Purvakam in the Geeta !!

I think a more appropriate way of looking at it is to say that the a-vaidika 
modes of ritual are being opposed. There are, after all, many rituals that 
are nowadays considered "Tantric", but are quite in accordance with vaidika 
tradition. What I am trying to do is to draw attention to the term 
a-vidhi-pUrvaka, whereas everybody pays attention only to the term anya 

In my opinion, we are nowadays predisposed towards thinking in terms of 
categories alien to Indian thought. One of these categories is monotheism 
vs. polytheism. It is a complete misunderstanding of Indian texts and 
thinkers if one assumes that they privilege monotheism. This holds true even 
for exclusively Vaishnava and exclusively Saiva traditions. There is no 
tradition that worships only viShNu without worshipping lakShmI, garuDa etc. 
There is no tradition that only worships Siva without worshipping umA, 
gaNeSa etc. We are quite unlike the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions of 

For example, we all know that pitR-tarpaNa and SrAddha for dead ancestors 
are vaidika rituals that are enjoined. If we pay close attention to the 
details of the SrAddha ritual, we lay out an eating place for viShNu, we 
recite eko bhoktA gadAdharaH, eko viShNur mahad brahma and other verses, 
during the ritual. This is based upon the knowledge that viShNu is the 
ultimate recipient of all sacrifices, and this mode of doing it is offering 
the sacrifice according to vidhi. There are some who observe this ritual but 
do not do it in the prescribed way, so they are worshipping ancestors, but 
a-vidhi-pUrvakam, as they neglect to acknowledge the "person of the 
sacrifice", the yajnapuruSha. Even so, note that what Krishna is saying in 
the gItA is that those who worship thus, devoid of the proper vidhi, 
nevertheless ultimately do worship him only, although they remain ignorant 
about it.

In summary, I am drawing attention to the importance of what is called 

Best regards,

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